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tv   Mosaic  CBS  October 28, 2012 5:00am-5:30am PDT

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♪ good morning and welcome to mosaic. it's always an honor to host mosaic. we have been grateful for this station for having us. from community methodist church in fairfield, i've been the pastor for five years. people said that they will be watching us. if not, they'll tape it. today, we're going to be talking about dr. howard thurman. you may ask, who is howard thurman? he is one of the greatest religious figures of our times. and we are grateful to have the
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pastor who bounded that church in 1944. it's still active and very alive and a colleague of mine and friend, reverend dr. dorothy blake is the pastor since the nineties. great to see you, dorothy. >> thank you, and thank you for inviting me. >> glad to have you. >> i want to tell you how much i aappreciate your work not only as a pastor but a host for mosaic for 11 years. >> thank you. >> thank you for your commitment and the invitation to being here. you know, we went to school together 40 years ago. >> what's been your journey to let people know who don't know you? >> on fad yaition from the pack school of religion, i worked as the assistant to the president
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of the -- at that time. the unfortunate of alabama was not integrated in are it of facility except for the scoofl business in terps black foafntle there was an evident for the chairman of the department to integrate and they were looking for somebody to do that you might recall bishop herseff who was was alabama and worked in tux tuscaloosa and who was a colleague of dr. king. bishop hersem told dr. williams they were looking for someone to integrate the unfortunate of alabama, if they knew somebody who could do it. i was chosen. it's very, very strong. it was two weeks in december when i was notified and i
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started in january. >> you ended up staying there two years? >> i stayed five and a half years. >> it was strange, especially coming from the bay area, in terms of how radical people are. and going to alabama. >> what did you too much it. >> i taught religious studies. i dealt with black religion, introductory course on black religion. i taught a course on howard thurman. i taught a course called religion and social institutions. the unfortunate of alabama also had a very clean period. there was three weeks between the end of the regular school and the beginning of the regular school and you could did all kind of creative things. i taught a course on the civil rights movement. i went to selma to montgomery to atlanta. in atlanta, we met king's
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father, dr. abernathy, jose williams yes >> did you ever think you would come back to the bay area? >> yes. [ laughter ]. >> alabama was wonderful, its with one of tremendous growth and understanding. it was one that in many ways was -- set a very -- it was shocking in some ways because it was still very, very racist in many ways from the standpoint of when i first went there looking to buy a car. we were boy. boy. >> that was in '72. >> 1972. there were those kinds of things that i had to get used to and, in fact, so did my friends in alabama. they said meeks you have to know the way it is here and don't react. >> dr. thurman grew up in florida. >> yes. >> and i imagine that kind of experience, you were aware of. i was aware of that what i did
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not expect, i think in '74, '75. pause i taught that course on black religion, we went to black churches so that students could experience black religion. one day, i saw a sign and heard about the fact that there was this white church having a revival and they invited everybody to atefnltd our class decided to go to that. we were not allowed in. we were walking up the stairs -- >> this was '72? >> yes. >> i want to take a break and come back to that and how you became the pastor for the church of all people, which is dr. howard thurman's church. >> thank you. >> please, join us. we'll have more with dr. dorsey blake.
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welcome back to mosaic.
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we have been talking to reverend dr. dorsey blake about dr. howard thurman and the church photograph our people. how did you end up being the pastor there? >> whatever alabama after this incident, we were rejected by the clutch, a few years later, i decided to return to the bay area to work on a ph.d. >> uh-huh. >> i wasn't sure, actually i would return to the bay area. i looked at other places. i wasn't sure i was going to return to religion, to be honest. there were other things i was looking at, international studies. quite happily, in the process of all of this, i received a call from dr. howard thurman who said he had heard that i was returning to the bay area to do religion studies. i had not decided yesterdayh
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yet, but, somehow, in the translation, a i was coming back. and he asked me if i wanted to come and work with him. when you receive a call from howard thurman, you do nothing but do that. i ended up working with him. i then went to work with the campus ministry in ohio. then years later, i got a call from dr. williams, asking me to returning to the bay area to direct the black church study. dr. howard thurman called me and indicated that the church was really having some very serious problems in terms of -- >> you can imagine you have a charismatic leader like dr. thurman who is a great speaker.
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i mean, when he speaks, he -- the church was not doing very well. i was asked to come and decide what they were going to do in the future because they didn't really have the finances to have anyone employed full-time. >> tell with us where it's located. >> 2041 market street, not very far from here. >> that's right. >> between broadway and blake. >> okay. >> so he asked me, actually asked me to come over and help him decide what to do in terms of maybe just operating two sundays a month or something. however, the meeting to discuss with the board never occurred, and the next phone call i received from her was asking me to come to preach because the minister was leaving at the end of the september. she asked me if i could be there the first sunday in
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october. in her ini inimtable style, just to give continuity. >> and she kept asking me to come over and on. >> believe it or not, many people do not know the church or dr. howard thurman. >> one of the reasons that people don't know him is that dr. thurman spent a lot of his time initially with morehouse, howard university. when he came over here, the church was totally independent, which means that you have no connections with other national structures. >> i see. >> it's in the methodist church, baptist church, you go to conventions, you word spreads about a who you are and so son. that did not happen with him because he was so isolated. when he left the church in 1963
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to go to boston unfortunate, he was in a predominantly white institution. in terms of black community, there was not as much information about him as there should have been. i think in the white community, you know, you are talking about race criminal, he was the author of 22 books. >> that's the reap he was not as well-known. >> the church is integrated? >> yes. >> interracial, interdenominational, interreligious. >> yes. >> it was founded, as you said, in 1944. it was -- there was a white love or, dr. fiesk who was trying to bring people together within racial lines within the
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presbyterian church. dr. thurman had met gandhi. on the way back from india, he had experienced a type of path in terms of unity of people. he kept thinking about -- let me see how i need to put this into practice, the unity of all people and that was the purpose of the fellowship church to bring everybody together, from a racial background, creative background. >> find common ground. >> if people can come together and experience a religious background, there would be a common ground that would undercut all the barriers and that was the idea behind fellowship church. that's not so much what you believe. it's come together and come here and let us know you and knowing of you, we're going to find out there are some basic
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hungers of the heart that we all have. there is a basic underlying unity that we all have and we should celebrate that. it's ideal if we can do deal with rehim on, you take that into your workplace, into your everyday living and that way, you influence the social structures, the destruck stiff social systems. it was his civil rights contribution in a way to break through some of the barriers because, you will recall in 1944, segregation was reality, the reality of the land. this was one day that he thought that we could really make visible, make manifest, make it become reality. >> he was also dealing with sexism because there were women who were copastors with him. later there was a woman, carol
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nelson. >> that's right. >> he was very, very committed to what we call interrogation. the most influential was alex shrine, a woman south african doctor. and he named his daughter after dr. alex shrine. >> thank you. please, continue to join us with mosaic here. i'm ron swisher. we are listening to dorsey blake. howard thurman.
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thank you for joining us here at mosaic. we have been looking at the life of dr. howard thurman and we just touched on the surface. i'm going to ask dorsey now to mention some of his books that he has written. 21 books. what book stands out for you.
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>> the one that stands out the most was jesus and the disinherited. the reason it stands out is the fact that it was so meaningful to me when i first read it. this is during the years when we were in '68. >> '68, king was assassinated. >> the book, also trying to come back, what many people thought was the essence of black religion in terms of others' willingness. this is the time in 1968 when i first encountered jesus and the disinherited, that helped me understand what jesus was about. he was about dealing with social realities, that he was a jew, a poor jew and a poor jew
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living under roman domination. so in many ways, he was living like we were. the book was written to help people with the religion of jesus, people with their backs against the wall. and it is says that this is a book that martin luther king carried with him on a regular basis. the thing that king picked up, the whole question of fear. you talk about interdukes to jesus, thurman gets that. >> that's right. and there is fear and how pervasive it is, and how devastating it is and how it controls us in so many ways and how do you move beyond the here. he calls it the deception of privacy and hatred in terms of hell. he says that the curative side of that is love. >> there ace whole chapter on love there. >> the reason why fear is so important -- and the book is
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really great because -- to move to king for just a second, they interviewed people. they interviewed this woman who was 19. of all the people who were interviewed, she was so pro fund when they asked her about the movement and dr. king. she say, he took the fear out of us. and i thought that was powerful. i remember the favorite saying, don't ask about what the world needs, go out and live your life and come alive. >> come alive. don't ask what the world needs. what the world needs is for people to come alive. >> that's what the world needs, right, to come alive. >> yes. >> he always mentioned that life is alive and seeking to be fulfilled. >> right. >> he always talked about the necessity for to us find the grain in our own worth and
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follow the light that god shines on your path, my path, which will be different from your path and having the kind of courage and the faith, the trust in life to follow that because life is speaking to you in terms of your own uniqueness, whether you are part of the common reality and you are being called to something. you are called to be a special exposition of the word of god. so you follow where god is leading you to see. >> that's great. >> you had some complications. >> and we have one coming up. >> october 21st of this year, third sunday in october is our annual howard thurman con vocation. every year, we do this to try to help people remember who he was, to understand his legacy but not just to stay in the past but also to appreciate people who are carrying forth a similar kind of legacy today. this year, we are honoring donald chris man and sam
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edwards who are the founders of the first negro spiritual. they will receive the thurman award this year. these people are educating people in terms of spiritual, keeping them alive, forums, meetings. they have done a tremendous job and they have honored the people who have kept the legacy of the spirit alive. that's at 4:00 today. >> it was very interesting being, after the convocation,s in november, there is a black religious scholars group at the church. but it's howard thurman's birthday. so that's exciting. that's november the 18th at the church. the place was stacked. that was a remarkable, remarkable experience. >> the church has never been a large membership. >> no. >> and why do you think that is, because it's so unique? >> it's unique. many people -- what the
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fellowship church does and does very well and sometimes, people come in for a year, two years, experience it and go back to -- >> what they are called to do >> right. in the beginning, the church had dual membership. you could be a member of another church and themembershipship church. people wanted to come for the civil rights components but didn't want to leave their church. on now, we try to actually -- we established that nationally so that people can go ahead and have a membership with the church and live somewhere else. >> i'm glad that they are still going on. we'll come back for the la segment as we look at the life of dr. howard thurman, two of the great religious giants of our time.
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thank you for joining us. i've asked dorsey in the last segment to give us a quote on howard thurman. >> you asked a little bit earlier about what one of his books meant. it's also called love, the mood of christmas. we have our christmas service around his book, the love of christmas. and this is a wonderful poem that he wrote which i don't know if you know sister personis, that was the relung just witness, one of his people. he had a christmas card. when the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, had the
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shepherds are back with their flock, the work of christmas begins to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among brothers, to make music in the heart. >> that's great. that's the mood of christmas. >> that's the mood of christmas. >> and that's the work of christmas. >> the mood of christmas, there are all kinds of readings that were just absolutely fabulous >> one of my favorite quotes of howard thurman is put a saddle on your dream and you ride it. >> oh, yea. >> put a saddle on your dream before you ride it. >> and the other one is the one that i often use as a
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benediction. in the quietness of this place, surrounded by the all pervading presence of the holy, my heart whispers, keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve. and in good times, in tempests, fair weather, i may not forget that to which my life is committed. keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve >> that's a good way to close. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. >> that was a wonderful prayer. thank you. >> thank you for sharing with us dr. howard thurman. >> thank you. >> and i invite people to read his books. >> i hope so. books. we have the books at the church. the howard thurman foundation. >> yes.
5:28 am >> if you joined us i know you were enlightened and challenged by one of the great religious thinkers of our time. go out and read dr. howard thurman and live up to your high resolve. thank you for joining us. i'm ron swisher. we have been with dr. dorsey blake.
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